Winter Blues? Let it be a passing fancy 😊
The Winter Blues are exceptionally normal, with many of us experiencing mood shifts during the colder, darker long periods of winter.
You may find yourself feeling progressively sluggish and down with the short amount of daylight hours. Despite the fact that you might feel a bit gloomier than expected, Winter Blues are typically short lived and don’t stymie your daily activities.
However, on the off chance that your winter blues start penetrating all parts of your life, be it working, daily activities, or daily social interactions, you might be challenged with something known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more commonly known as Winter Blues. A visit to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) will determine this diagnosis and can provide remedies and/or medications to help overcome this disorder.
Here are a few things that might clue you in about this disorder normally associated with the Fall and Winter months, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Most importantly if you believe you are experiencing persistent SAD, please go talk to your PCP.
Recognizing the signs:
The most well-known side effects of the Winter Blues are general sadness and an absence of Energy. However, and unfortunately, for our elderly family and friends, SAD is more prominent. Here are a few indicators to look out for to see if they are affected, and if you believe they are, might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with their PCP.
● Shivering or feel a chill, in any event, when others in a similar situation feel totally fine.
● The skin can turn pale
● They tire out rapidly
● They have more trouble sleeping and staying asleep
● Feeling less social than expected
● Not out and about as they normally would be
As we progressively age, it’s commonly known that metabolism is greatly reduced. Generating enough body heat to keep them comfortable increasingly becomes more challenging. As a result, loosing body heat quicker spirals into not wanting to go out and about for a light walk around the block, or to head to the grocery store.
But there’s always a silver lining, and with the help of their PCP, family, and friends, SAD can become a thing of the past. Staying active is a sure-fire way of beating SAD. Yes, yes, yes - get up and move around my friends!
During the day when light is a premium, open them curtains, let the light and the warmth in the house. Get appropriately dressed and go out for a light walk around the block, head to the store for groceries, or better yet, visit friends and family.
Here are some tips for help overcome the Winter Blues:
❏ Dress for the climate. In Oregon, as you know an afternoon can get grey clouds, rain, sleet, ice, and sometimes hail even. Pack a jacket, sweater, or galoshes in your bag or car. Because the weather can change any moment, and just like a Boy and Girl Scout – always be prepared 😊
❏ Wear-loose layers of garments, preferably with sweat wicking material. Yup, the air between the layers keeps really do keep you warm. We’re not talking gushing air in between your garments here, just enough to dry the sweat and/or wick the sweat from your body. Sweating although has its purpose, is not good when it’s cold outside because wet clothes can only make you colder.
❏ Put on a cap and scarf. You lose a greatest amount of body heat when your head and neck are uncovered. So…get fashionable or not at all, and pop on the cap and wrap your neck with a nice, fluffy scarf.
❏ When you get home and your clothes are damp or wet, change your clothes immediately. It’s always a good idea to be in dry, sweat wicking clothes, but if you don’t have that material, good layering of clothing will work just fine.
❏ Stay active and continue moving. Do whatever it takes not to sit still for over each hour at a time. Regardless of whether simply move your arms and legs, it'll help keep you warm.
❏ Soup, it does a body good 😊. I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but there is nothing more comforting than soup – it keeps you warm and fills your belly.
❏ Happy lights! Also known as Light Therapy Boxes, mimics the outdoor sunlight, and comes in different brands, sizes, and cost. The important thing to remember is that this is another tool to increase the amount of light exposure during the day to curb SAD.
❏ Vitamin D. The amount of Vitamin D and whether Vitamin D is even appropriate is a discussion you should have with your PCP. Here is a fantastic article written by the Cleveland Clinic worth reading.
Changes in Sleeping habits:
Throughout the Winter, the amount of sunshine is greatly reduced. This can make anybody feel drowsy and feel more tired. Getting additional rest isn't an issue until napping turns into a huge part of your day.
It’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule for a variety of reasons, but in the Winter, this is especially true. The goal is to prevent SAD and making sure that a regular sleep schedule can be one way to do so.
Setting a timer and/or alarm clock on your tablet, or latest electronic gizmo for when it’s close to getting ready for bed really helps with the daily routine of making sure you will get enough sleep. It’s just another way of preventing SAD.
By making shifts to your routine to adjust for the weather, eating healthy, staying active, and getting more sunlight exposure, can make a huge difference in not falling into the Winter Blues trap, if at all.
So, get up and go my friends, stay active, eat healthy, and visit friends 😊
Written in partnership with Najam ul Seher and Joyce Canizares